Four Legs + Vanity + Wearables

Felted wool dog sweater.


I’ve been squirreling away Evan’s old wool sweaters for a while now—the ones that are too nubbly or moth-eaten for Goodwill—and I turned one of them into a sweater for Bruno. I’m not big on pet fashion, but Bruno is one of those dogs who likes wearing sweaters in the winter, even just to hang out on the sofa. (Fritz, on the other hand, despite being perpetually cold, loathes wearing sweaters. Go figure.)

Making a dog-sized sweater out of a human-sized sweater is super easy. There’s barely any sewing involved, even—just a few simple stitches.

uncut sweater 2

The first step is to felt a wool sweater. In addition to making the sweater toddler-sized, this will make the wool thicker and denser, and keep it from unraveling or needing hemming when you cut it. A trip or two through the washing machine with HOT water should do the trick. Don’t use detergent, and just to be safe, stick it inside an old, zippered pillowcase to protect your washing machine from shedding fibers. You can put it in the dryer, too (leave it inside the pillowcase), or let it air-dry.

sweater measuring

cut sweater

You’ve probably already guessed as much, but this project is best suited to dogs under 15 pounds (unless you’re sewing together multiple sweaters, but that’s another project entirely). For a little 10-pounder like Bruno, cutting the sweater right down the center gave me just the right amount of fabric. Measure your pooch around the middle, subtract a few inches, and adjust your cut accordingly.


Cut off the arm. The armhole will become the neckhole. Don’t worry about keeping the seam or anything, just cut where you think makes sense. Try the sweater on your dog, and see how it fits. Bruno doesn’t like fabric around his front legs, so I trimmed that area back a bit and rounded off the corners. Just keep trimming and shaping until the sweater looks and feels right on your dog.

belly strap

Use a section of the arm to create a belly strap. Stitch it in place on one side, check for fit on your dog, and sew the other end down. You can add decorative buttons or a Superman applique or blanket-stitch the edges if you want, too.

Bruno in his sweater

Put the sweater on the dog, then put the dog on the sofa. Make a cup of tea, put 30 Rock on Netflix, and snuggle up.

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  • Reply victoria December 19, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    so freakin’ cute. and clever. and, bruno looks like a mini relative of lucy’s. 🙂

  • Reply tiina { sparkling ink } December 19, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    I’ve made diy projects from old sweater too. I made wrist and neck warmers, pillow cases and some cup sleeves for hot drinks. This is one is so adorable. Aww, so so cute!

  • Reply Dan @ Manhattan Nest December 19, 2010 at 4:02 pm


  • Reply Adam December 19, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    This is awesome Anna! Bruno looks adorable!

  • Reply The brick house December 19, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Adorable! My pups need this desperately. They hate wearing sweaters like Fritz, maybe it’s a chihuahua thing?

  • Reply Grumble Girl December 19, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Okay, that’s tres cute… easy too! Love it!!

  • Reply Fiona December 19, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Hmmmm, my little man tin tin might just be wearing some of his dads sweaters soon !!!!! Great idea !

    Happy Christmas !

  • Reply Griffen December 19, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    oh my, this is to cute. i friggen love it. =)

  • Reply kay* December 19, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    soooooo freakin’ cute! totally making one for Howard! i’ve wanted to make one for a while but thinking about making the armholes totally left me clueless…

    thanks for sharing! bruno looks quite stylish 🙂

  • Reply Cookie and Kate December 19, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    Love it! Great idea! I love dressing up my dog, Cookie, for funnies. She actually enjoys wearing sweaters and her silly puffer vest. I’m going to put this project on my to-do list!

  • Reply Callista December 19, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Ahhhh! Brilliant. I love it. And I desperately want a dog.

  • Reply me @{life or something...} December 19, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    OMG. Bruno is the cutest dog, EVER.

  • Reply iva December 20, 2010 at 7:29 am

    ahhhhhhh, so adorable!!!!

  • Reply dew i December 20, 2010 at 7:52 am

    How clever and adorable!

  • Reply Megan December 20, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Cutest, coziest puppy ever!!! Adorable! And great idea for the doggie sweater.

  • Reply elisabeth December 20, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Great recycle of a wool sweater! As a knitter, this is high praise. Have a happy holidays, doll!

  • Reply Kate December 20, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    This is brilliant… and it looks like Lyle is getting a new sweater as soon as I find an old one. It’s very simple and understated. It also really brings out the color of Bruno’s eyes.

  • Reply kristin December 20, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    Oh, Bruno… the cute meter has tipped into squeal category. Too adorable.

    Thanks for the tutorial! I’m going to have to make one of these for my puppy – a 6 month old small labradoodle. He’s about 25 lbs so far, though, so I’ll have to thrift a huge sweater to start with. (He has a plaid waterproof jacket that he likes a lot, so I bet he’d sport something like this…)

  • Reply BODIE and FOU December 21, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    ah ah!! very clever….I have a few of ‘felt jumpers’ that went into the washing machine at a bit too hot temperature that it should have been…

    Not sure if my Australian shepherd will like this, he is a big dog

  • Reply Miss B. December 21, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    Oh that last photo is insanely CUTE!

  • Reply La Maison Fou December 22, 2010 at 9:48 am

    This is such an awesome idea!
    What a great way to reuse those great sweaters that get a moth hole in them, always makes me sad:( ………..
    I think too I have found a way to make one or two for my sisters enourmous Labrador
    He is so large normal pet sweaters will not fit him even XXL…..
    Thanks for this, your little Bruno is the best! Thanks to him for sharing!
    I am going to try this!
    La Maison Fou

  • Reply heather December 22, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Great repurpose!
    I want to snuggle that dapper little guy so badly.

  • Reply gjacks December 23, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    this is so great – thanks for the tip.

  • Reply morgan January 18, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    great idea! i left part of the sleeve on the one i made, creating a mock-turtleneck. the cuff from said sleeve made a great belly strap. here’s my interpretation of the dog sweater:

  • Reply Alissa January 26, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Dear me! You make me want a dog. Yours is totally cute and the sweater just makes him cuter.

  • Reply kat January 27, 2011 at 2:20 am

    hey….just wondering what kind of dog Bruno is….he looks exactly like my GUS who is a tiny cavapoo….

    • Anna @ D16 January 27, 2011 at 7:35 am

      Bruno is half bichon frise, half long-haired Chihuahua. 🙂

  • Reply avril February 8, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Is very simple to make a dog sweater, the way you do them. And this sweater is prettier that some of those: so why buy if is so easy to make them?:D

  • Reply Maureen March 23, 2011 at 2:02 am

    Hi Anna,
    Long time reader, first time…commenter (I think). I got into a conversation today about vegans feeding their dogs a vegan diet. Do you feed your boys vegan grub?

    • Anna @ D16 March 23, 2011 at 7:30 am

      Hi Maureen, I don’t feed my dogs a vegan diet at this time (they eat Embark from the Honest Kitchen), but it’s something I’ve definitely considered. I have several friends who feed their dogs vegan food, though, and I know that they and many other have had great results from Natural Balance’s vegan fomula. By all accounts dogs have no trouble thriving on a vegan diet, and the only hesitation I have is with the overall quality (in terms of processing, etc.) of the vegan foods that are available than with the actual lack of animal-based proteins. It’s definitely something I need to do more looking into!

  • Reply Johnny Marocco December 11, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Thank you so much for this. I just rescued a 4 year old female Whippet named Callie and she is just a little snuggle bunny but doesn’t have an ounce of fat on her so she will start shivering at the drop of a hat.
    I looked on ebay and didn’t find much that would fit her after taking her measurements so I thought,
    durrr?, Im a big guy, I have tons of nice old wool sweaters I don’t wear anymore.
    I took sewing in 7th grade because I liked a girl named Shauna that was in sewing and there was no other boys brave enough to take sewing so yep! I did it and she ended up becoming my girl friend 🙂 I could totally convert one of my big sweater’s into a pet sweater if only I had the instructions and a pattern idea so I started googling and found this. Callie and I thank you

    Johnny Marocco
    Dalllas, TX

    • Anna @ D16 December 11, 2012 at 12:21 pm

      Johnny, I love this story! 🙂 Congratulations on your new baby—Whippets are great dogs. I’m sure she’ll love her new sweater!!

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